In pictures #1 and #2 I have cut out the fork pattern on my trusty Bandsaw. You will notice that the top is cut at an angle. This is for the horn cap so that it sits at a nice angle when the tree is done. The part of the fork where the bars fasten is also and angle. Most things are at compound angles on trees . The bars also have an angle for the fork and cantle cuts. This is a 90 Degree bar angle tree, which means the bars are at a 90 degree angle as far as the fork goes. The center line comes into play there also for the bar angle.
Next I want you to take a look at pictures #2 and #3 and I want you to pay close attention to these. These are pictures of the rear gullet. The distance across that measurement sets the bars that distance apart at the back of the gullet. This one happens to be 3 3/4" wide. There is more to it than just the rear gullet measurement, but it is a really important part of it. The shape of the bars, Bar Angle, Twist, Rocker, flair in the front, and more all have a part to play however. The next pictures to look at are #4 and #5. Notice in #4 I have marked the front gullet opening height and width also have marked the lines where the bars top line will stop. In #5 the front Gullet has been opened up with my rasp and I have glued on a horn cap.
Notice In picture #5 that the front opening didn't make the bars further apart ( a wider Tree). They are still exactly the same angle and distance apart as before. The back gullet measurement shown in #2 and #3 plus also the bar angle has set the bar spread. I could file that front opening out until there was no wood left and the bars and not going to get any further apart. They only thing making the front to wide will do is let the saddle jerk ahead or rock down in front , and probably both will happen. The top of the bars that sticks up above the gullet line gets filed off to meet the line after the tree is glued together. Many people think that a wider front gullet makes the tree wider, but as the pictures have shown that is not really the case at all. You need to change the rear gullet width, the bar angle, or both to make the tree actually wider. Another thing to always remember is that a small amount of change is a lot when talking about trees. Also there are many other factors to go into the fit of the tree. The other tree pages will explain some of those things further. The bars are thinned down in the front and top gullet line because some of that extra wood has to be still rasped off. They will not be as thin once finished. This part has to be done once the tree is glued together.
Probably the Bars and the Cantle & Forks Pages will be the next pages to be added to on the Trees section of the site so watch for those updates. Remember that even the thickness of the Rawhide used will affect things as to how a tree may fit. Also that you don't have to make a big change measurement wise to actually make a big change as far as fit.
The rawhide page has some information and pictures on it ready for you to take a look now you might find interesting. I hope you found this page interesting and helpful.
A little bit of change, changes a lot !
On this page is information about some of the measurements on saddle trees shown and explained so that you will know a little about trees and fitting. There will be a slideshow below so that you will be able to see what I am trying to show you. There are some measurements that people go by that really don't change all that much and the ones that do they don't even know about. One important thing to remember is that a very small change in measurement can make a big change on how and what a tree does fit. This is going to be a really good page here in the site so keep watching it for updates. When this page is completed and you have studied it some you will have a lot better understanding of what the measurements mean and what they change and what they won't change. The patterns for my Wade type saddle are all built so I had to wait until there was a new pattern to be built from scratch for this part of the site. The one I used happens to be a nasty ol' Swell Fork but it all works the same for showing the measurements. The Fork example is just made from some cheap hem-fir 2 x 6 as were the bars which are just for pattern making and not in any actual Saddle tree. I have to use a set of bars to put on the fork to mark out my gullet height ect. to build one up. I don't use the good wood for the patterns as they might not turn out like I want and have to start over. Also you will have to imagine that the blocks I left for my tools to get ahold of that will be cut off are gone. I will show the final fork that will be in the tree in the last pictures that will have the blocks cut off and be mostly finished. The bars still need to be filed down in the gullet and front yet and any final file work done to do to smooth, round, or flatten things where they need to be. I always leave extra bar that has to be taken off after gluing. These things have to be done after the tree is glued together and before Varnishing. The final picture I will have the finished tree shown after its covered with Rawhide. The gallery pictures will enlarge for you if you click on them for a larger view. The Gallery is below on the right. For the easiest way to understand the information I would suggest reading the text below the pictures and then clicking on the matching picture to see in the matching picture what I am trying to show you. I also have the pictures to the left in case of the gallery not loading . The pictures wont enlarge but you should still be able to see what I am trying to show you from those at the left also.
Slick Fork Saddle Shop